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Poll: South Carolinians don’t want U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham to run for president

Winthrop University survey finds little support for a Graham White House bid, even among Republicans

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

south-carolina mugSPARTANBURG, South Carolina (CFP) — Most South Carolinians say they do not want their senior U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham, to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, according a new poll.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

A Winthrop University survey released March 4 found more than 60 percent of state residents opposed to Graham running for the White House, with just 28 percent saying they thought the senator’s candidacy was a good idea.

Among self-identified Republicans and those who lean Republican, 34 percent thought Graham should run, while 57 percent were opposed.

The poll of 1,109 residents of the Palmetto State had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Graham, 59, elected to his third term in the Senate last November, launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, saying that was seriously considering running for president on a national security platform.

If he runs, he would be a favorite son in the key South Carolina primary, scheduled for February 2016, which is traditionally the first primary held in the South.

Graham is one of nine Southerners — eight Republicans and one Democrat — considering a White House bid in 2016.

Among the potential Southern GOP candidates are former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas; U.S. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has already launched an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — a race that’s expected to be dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former first lady of Arkansas.

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